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The Daily Tar Heel

Letter: Art Pope responds to letter to the editor


It is unfortunate that the The Daily Tar Heel chose to further inflame the growing polarization and extremism in our society by publishing a letter to the editor by Andrew Brennen, Oct. 2, with the false and malicious headline, “Art Pope’s racist history with UNC.” 

I have no racist history, and Mr. Brennen’s letter did not accuse me of racism.

What Mr. Brennan’s letter did ask was whether I believe that David Duke and the Klu Klux Klan “have a legitimate claim to first amendment protection” at campus sponsored events. 

My answer is that I stand by the quote attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 

Today, and in 1975, I vehemently disagree(d) with Duke and the KKK. 

Just seven years before, in 1968, a Federal Court rightfully overturned the state’s “Speaker Ban Law,” which banned known communists from speaking at UNC. 

You can’t celebrate the rejection of the speaker ban while embracing a ban on Duke.

It is wrong and unconstitutional for a democratically-elected legislature (and for that matter, a single self-appointed student), to decide who should be banned from speaking, rather than letting each UNC student decide what he or she wants to hear.

James Arthur “Art” Pope

President and Chairman of the John William Pope Foundation

Class of 1978

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